A fiery rural ambition

During the monitoring, it was found that there were only few households with underutilized biogas plants due to poor management

Metabkha gewog in Chhukha aims for 100 percent biogas production

KARMA CHIMI
Thimphu

In its quest to become fully self-sufficient in domestic household fuel, Metabkha gewog in Chhukha is aiming for 100 percent biogas production after few years.

From the total 119 households in five chiwogs under the gewog, 70 households have constructed the biogas plants.

19 households in Pangu chiwog and 18 households from Gumina and Yeakha chiwogs have constructed biogas plants. In addition, about 15 households from Gompa chiwog have also installed the plant while villagers of Gompa Med are in the process of installing these plants.

According to the Metabkha gup Passang Tshering, the objective of encouraging the villagers to use biogas plant is to reduce the import of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LGP) and address climate change issues.

The gup said, “Increasing numbers of biogas users have reduced firewood consumption in the gewog,” adding that the gewog leaders encourage the villagers to opt for biogas as an alternative.

The gewog administration conducted consultation meeting with gewog officials and requested the gewog livestock extension officer to monitor the underutilized biogas plants. 

The gewog has recently completed monitoring the biogas plants in the three chiwogs of Goenpatoed, Goenpamaed and Uekha. During the monitoring, it was found that there were only few households with underutilized biogas plants due to poor management.

Some were left underutilized temporarily pertaining to minor issues of improper fittings and leakages. There were also a few plants who had failed to obtain cow dungs for the development of biogas.

However, during the visit, everything was checked and monitored. The gewog biogas monitoring focal persons made sure that the beneficiaries rectified the minor errors made in the fitting.   Those beneficiaries who failed to put cow dung were asked to fill the tank to continue using the biogas at an optimal level.

Rinzin Dorji from Gumina chiwog said that the biogas plants have benefited the villagers extensively. He said that villagers do not have to buy LPG cylinders or fetch firewood for cooking. The biogas has also benefited during the power cuts as they were also dependant on electric appliances.

Phub Rinzin from Pango chiwog said that the biogas construction was a noble vision of their local and dzongkhag leaders. “We felt at ease of not having to buy LPGs during the pandemic and when fuel price has increased,” he said.

He shared that there isn’t much complication in using biogas. He added that people don’t need advanced technical knowledge to operate the biogas plants, except that some people were not familiar to fit leakages. He said that the used dungs can be also used as manure.

However, Phub Rinzin said that the villagers need to raise more cows for more biogas production. As dung from a single cow is not sufficient for gas production, Phub Rinzin now has two cows. The additional one gifted to him by his father in-law for the plant.

Nima Gyeltshen also from Pango chiwog is also breathing a sigh of relief in not having to buy LPG cylinders. He said that in the past people had to go to Phuentsholing to buy LGP and used to spend about Nu 1,000 as additional transportation charge.

Nima said that the villagers now have started to sell LPG cylinders to civil servants. “If all uses biogas, it will contribute to the country’s economy by helping reduce imports and also preserve the environment which helps to address climate change,” he said.

Tandi Om from Pango chiwog who installed a biogas plant in 2021, said that collecting firewood has drastically reduced in her village. “It is convenient to cook in biogas if one has enough dung,” she said.

The first phase of biogas construction in Metabkha gewog started in 2016 with one household as pilot project and the second phase kicked-off in 2019.

Today, all five chiwogs envisions to construct biogas plants in every individual household during the third phase of the project which began in 2021.